Paxton’s legal threat convinces Trump administration to wind down DACA

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Tuesday, the Trump Administration announced a “wind down” of the DACA program — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — which protected people who came to the U.S. illegally as children from being deported.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened to sue the administration for continuing a program brought by “executive overreach” if the program was continued past Sept. 5.

Citing possible Texas litigation, which included nine other states, United States Attorney General Jeff Session announced Tuesday the program will officially end in six months, giving Congress a deadline to come up with some fix in the legislative branch.

Attorney General Paxton told KXAN he threatened to sue the administration because the executive action went beyond simply deferring enforcement of current law. Only Congress can decide who can legally stay here. This executive order allowed for work visas, eventual green cards and for a small number to apply to become citizens.

“I think so often the narrative is about emotions and that’s all really important. Human stories are important. But ultimately what I think people need to know about this is: the constitution survives and it really does matter how we go through the process. It’s good to have good policy but it’s not good when it doesn’t go through the right process,” Paxton told KXAN.

Protesters voicing support for DACA in front of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office on Sept. 5, 2017 (KXAN Photo/Andrew Choat)
Protesters voicing support for DACA in front of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office on Sept. 5, 2017 (KXAN Photo/Andrew Choat)

Paxton says his job is done now. He will drop the lawsuit threat.

“It seemed like an end around to citizenship instead of Congress addressing the issue. President Obama decided that he was going to make it more lenient. It would allow more people to come here under his own rules,” Paxton told KXAN.

DACA began in 2012 and it gave legal status and work permits to 800,000 people.

However, the chancellor for the University of Texas System, Admiral Bill McRaven, sent out a statement to the press disappointed in Tuesday’s announcement:

“Our state and nation have benefited for decades by attracting and retaining great students, scholars, physicians, and researchers from around the world. As I have said before, the men and women who show up on our shores and at our doors – ready to study, work, and participate – make us stronger, smarter, more competitive, and more attuned to the rest of our ever-shrinking globe,” he wrote in the statement.

“These students consider themselves to be Americans and Texans, proud of the state they see as their home. They, like others, have served our nation with distinction in their academic pursuits, in our nation’s military, and as productive members of society.”

There are around 120,000 people living in Texas under DACA protections that will now end in six months. Without action from Congress they will risk deportation if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) takes them into custody.

Texas also joined 25 other states to stop DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans). The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans sided with the states and a split Supreme Court upheld the ruling 4-4.

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